The title of my post comes from Romans:
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15 ESV)
What context did Paul have in mind when he asked the question, “And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” If we read the question in context we understand that Paul is talking about “preaching” to those who have not called on the Lord, who have not believed in him, and who have not heard of him.
What does this mean? The audience for the “preacher” in this passage is not composed of the church or believers. Instead, the “preacher” is sent to those who are not yet believers – that is, to unbelievers. (If we read the broader context of Romans chapters 9-11, we’ll see that unbelievers are Paul’s focus.)
In other words, Paul is not talking about what takes place every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night in so many churches… what we call “preaching.” Instead, Paul is talking about “preaching” (that is, proclaiming or announcing) the gospel to those who are not believers.
It’s past time for us to start using words properly, and stop confusing definitions and biblical mandates.